Saturday, June 30, 2007

Quitters never win

Did you know that?

I figured it out last night.

We had our Five Star Races. Mom came down to see Anna Marie run - actually, she was AM's "target." It's her last year in the Toddler Races, and next year she'll be outside running 1/2 mile against bigger kids.

My baby!

Anyway, I'm glad they left right after her race. Because I wouldn't have wanted my daughter to be around to see how I did.

Let me explain the event I was entered in: a two-mile walk, all around a (very, very hilly) college campus. They couldn't find a straight stretch for us. No. There's even a perfectly good walking track right behind the coliseum where we started. That would be too easy.

And Lawd, was it hot. Did I mention the heat? Very important, that.

About 1/2 way through, I started getting some horrible cramps all through my torso. Like, I could barely walk horrible.

I stopped for a minute or so to see if the cramps subsided. They didn't. But I kept going anyway.

Then, the headache started. Again I stopped, and my legs felt like they were going to fall from under me.

Still, I kept going.

About 3/4 of the way through, I started feeling nauseas. I asked one of the course workers how much further and she thought about half a mile.

I couldn't do it, y'all. I went back to the starting/finish line, where Jason was waiting with my camera.

I thought I was going to pass out. I was over heated.

Never in my life have I felt so badly, both physically and psychologically. I almost started crying as I sat in the lobby, trying to drink some water.

My Weight Watchers leader, Carolyn, came in. (She, by the way, won the Grand Master, meaning she's the fastest old lady there! No kidding!) She told me that it was OK I didn't finish, especially if there was a chance I'd have ended up in the ER.

That would've been especially bad considering I'm one of the uninsured.

I called my mom and told her. I didn't want Anna Marie to be disappointed, but mom said she was happy because she FINALLY had stinky feet.

You read that right. She was excited about having stinky feet she could smell.

And no, she didn't win her race. That honor, of course, went to Peyton, her arch nemesis. And who will also be starting the same school as her in the fall, as she lives around the corner next door to her grandparents - her grandmother who is a kindergarten teacher at the school, and her grandfather who is a retired judge.

And did I mention her dad is the president of a bank branch in our county? And she's blonde? I see a "most popular girl in school" in the making.

Anyway. I'm not bitter.

I don't know what went wrong last night - I tried to drink plenty of water through the day, and I ate a turkey sandwich about two hours before the race. Last year I did so great, I even won a trophy for third place in my age group.

(Know who one first in my age group last year and this year? Peyton's mom! How's that for irony?)

Even this morning, my legs are weak. And that's after just a mile and a half!

Next year, though, will be different. I think. I'm going to train better, and maybe drink some water closer to race time.

And hopefully not get overheated and have to quit.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Official Thursday Weigh-In

This post can also be titled "Deja Vu," because I've been here before.

160 pounds this week, down three pounds from my last weigh in (which was, if you recall, two weeks ago due to our little eastward jaunt). And 77 pounds total.

I really, really hope this is the end of the roller coaster of the past few weeks. I had a similar thing going on back in October.

I realized tonight that it's taken me roughly a year to lose 27 pounds, and that's kind of disheartening. Especially since it took me less than a year to lose the first 50. I guess it's that thing where the more you need to lose, the easier it is, yada, yada, yada.

On another note, I have once again signed up for our town's Five Star Races tomorrow night. Anna Marie will be running in the 5-year-old toddler race, and I'll be participating in the two-mile walk. It took me about 33 minutes last year, partly due to me not remembering to double-knot my shoes and having to stop about three times to tie them.

Because I didn't learn the first time.

I haven't had time to "train" much the past week or so, which makes me a wee bit nervous.

At least I'll get a cool T-Shirt out of the deal.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

World of Coke, Part Deux

Am I the only one who finds this guy just slightly creepy?

This was apparently one of the original soda fountains to serve Coke.

Guess they found the original soda jerk and bronzed him too.

Moving on.

This was in the Coke museum. It was a capping machine, from when workers had to manually cap the bottles. Like several other things in the room, it was interactive - Jason, Anna Marie, and I all took turns trying the foot pedal.

Those bottle cappers must've had killer calves!

This exhibit was supposed to simulate a living room, where someone could watch - wait for it, wait for it - American Idol! I know, how clever and original!

The picture was taken by one of the many hovering WOC employees. You'll notice Anna Marie still wearing the 3-D glasses from the 4-D theater we'd just left, after having our faces misted and the wind run through our hair and our backs poked by imaginary dragonflies.

Good times.

This was the "New Coke" exhibit. There was a looped video explaining the rise and fall of the ill-fated beverage.

(On a slightly-related note, I remember the first time I tasted "New Coke." Probably the only time I tasted it. My dad drove us to Memphis to this little convenience store where it was sold. We were not impressed. And apparently neither was anyone else.)

Next up: Anna Marie's favorite part (other than the Nintendo Wii in the gift shop).

Monday, June 25, 2007

World of Coke Part I

(So named because I figured out that I'd taken way too many pictures for Blogger to let me upload on one post.)

For instance:

The look of anticipation as we waited for Jason to finalize our tickets.

The ginormous Coke bottles in the foyer, in front of which an employee took a picture of us for our purchase later. Until later, when we discovered that picture costs $19.99.

And the entryway, filled with Coke memorabilia, where we waited for the first movie ("The Happiness Factory" or something like that) to begin. Luckily, we went first thing in the morning (8 a.m.!) so there was only us and a couple from Wisconsin. The bad part was, with such a low staffer-to-guest ratio, they tended to hover.

More to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

An iPod meme

Borrowed this from Susie Q.

(And it's been in my drafts for about two weeks. Sorry Susie. I'm bringing it out now because I'm leaving for Georgia in the morning, and I don't know how long it'll be before I can get back online. Except for Saturday night, because I'm having to miss our state's press convention for this wedding, and I've won something, and I have to wait until then to see it posted since I'm missing the awards luncheon.)

(But anyway.)

Know what? It's harder than it looks, folks.

INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Put your music player on shuffle. 2. Press forward for each question. 3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn’t make sense. NO CHEATING!

How do you feel today? Grey - Barlowgirl

(Not today, so much)

What's your outlook on life? Diverse City - Tobymac

(Why, I guess if you looked at my music library, it might be called "Diverse City" so I guess my outlook may be too.)

What does your family think of you? Take it to the Streets - Matt Redmon

(Well, I guess I know when I'm not wanted!)

What do your friends think of you? Jingle Bells - Jaymz Bee & Royal Jelly

(I honestly have NO idea where that song came from!)

What do your exes think of you? This Week the Trend - Relient K

(Know what? I don't have any exes! Jason is it! How's that for a trend?)

How's your love life? Breathe - Anna Nalick

(Guess I need to relax?)

How will your love life be in the future? One Girl Revolution - Superchic(k)

(Ok, I don't like the sound of that one!)

Will you get married? Go Power at Christmastime - James Brown

(Is that all it takes to snag a man - go power?)

Are you good at school? Let Your Voice, Becky Cruse

(Why, yes, I do talk a lot, even in school)

Will you be successful? She Walked Away - Barlowgirl

(Guess that question was too hard for her!)

What song should they play on your birthday? The Weight - Aretha Franklin

(Oh, uh uh. That's not the least bit funny!)

The Soundtrack of your life? O Holy Night - Truth

(I do spend a good deal of time at church!)

You and your best friends are? All I want for Christmas (is to get crunk) - Dirty Boyz

(Ok, Amanda gave me this one from her iTunes. Honest!)

Are we crying because we are sad or because we are laughing so hard?

Happy times: I Don't Know - Third Day

(Sometimes, I don't know, I think we have to laugh to keep from crying.)

Sad times: Just Between You and Me - DC Talk

(I've had some sad talks that began with that phrase!)

Every day: He is Exalted - Shane and Shane

(Good plan, don't you think?)

For tomorrow: Look Away - Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

(Is it that bad, that we have to look away?)

For you: Jingle Bells - Smokey Robinson

(I'm not that big a fan of that song, it's just on a lot of Christmas CDs!)

What does next year have in store for you? Rise Up - Third Day

(Cool! I can agree with that!)

What do you say when life gets too hard? Entertaining Angels - Newsboys

(That's what I need - more angels like y'all in my life!)

What song will you dance to at your wedding? Down in my Heart - Veggie Tales

(I happen to have some of Anna Marie's CDs loaded on my iPod - but the title sounds like a good wedding song!)

What do you want as your career? Bridge Over Troubled Water - Aretha Franklin

(A bridge builder! Cool!)

Your favorite saying: All Around the World

(I'm destined to be a world traveler, I knew it!)

How will you die? Frodo - Flight of the Conchords

(Not quite sure to make of that one!)

Phew! Glad that's over! Now it's your turn!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day late, meet dollar short

Man, it's the story of my life.

Happy Belated Father's Day. I don't know what it is about Sundays (actually, I do - I'm at home, having to fight the two red heads for computer time) but I can't seem to post.

Anna Marie got very personal with her gift - when I suggested on Saturday afternoon that she make her dad a card (tatmount to the resplendant one given to me on Mother's Day) she whispered ""

Yes, she said the word "slash."

We went to the site, while her dad was distracted in another room, and she made a card, a certificate, a piece of "stationary" and a bookmark. All containing the likenesses of her favorite Disney Channel stars, naturally.

When printed, they needed to be cut out. She didn't.

She handed them to him yesterday morning, and said, "Here is a card. You need to cut it out. Here is a bookmark. You need to cut it out."

And so on.

After church, we went to Aunt Debi's house, so she could get started hemming Jason's suit pants (you know, the black suit he had to buy, to be an usher in his sister's wedding? The one where he's going to be the only usher, because the other guy they asked didn't have a black suit that fit? Like Jason didn't, except he went out and bought one?)

She and Anna Marie at some point found a bowl that one of them imagined looked like a crown.

Then, they got out some of my aunt's old evening dresses.

Hilarity ensued.

Anna Marie is convinced that to be a monarch, you have to look menacing.

On another note, we were informed today (three days late, mind you) that because Anna Marie had new insurance, she could either get just the new lens for her left eye, or she could get a whole new pair of glasses. Being the college-educated folks that we are, Jason and I opted for the new glasses.

(We are planning, also, to buy a new left lens out of our own pocket, so that we still have the pink butterfly glasses as a backup pair. Just so you know.)

In a week or so, you'll be seeing the new look. I took a picture with my camera phone, but at the time she wasn't digging the new specs, so she looks rather sour.

Not a good look, even on her.

Having just dropped Anna Marie off at her hairdresser's church for Vacation Bible School, I'm back at work now to get a little more done. We're leaving later this week, and I not only have to get my regular work done, but a special section as well, in three days time.

Guess I'd better get on it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I've been tagged! I've been tagged!

Well, I've been tagged. By Valerie. Is anyone surprised?

Kidding, Valerie!

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

  • These Are The Days

  • Steff

  • College

  • Random Thoughts

  • Melz World

  • Next, select five people to tag:
    Susie Q

    What were you doing 10 years ago?
    About to enter my senior year of college, and being "engaged to be engaged" (i.e., everyone knew except his mom, and I had no ring.)

    What were you doing 1 year ago?
    Doing our busy summer special edition season with no intern, thanks to some "magic brownies" and a failed drug test.

    Five Snacks You Enjoy:
    dark chocolate
    grape tomatoes
    black bean salsa
    string cheese

    Five Songs That You Know All The Lyrics To:
    Border Song - Aretha Franklin's version (sorry, Elton, hers is better)
    Blue Skies - Frank Sinatra
    Philosophy - Ben Folds Five
    Jenny - Flight of the Conchords
    Boomin' - TobyMac
    And lots, lots more.

    Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire:
    Quit my job
    Fix some problems for my mom
    Take Anna Marie to the beach
    Buy Jason a new truck
    Buy a house

    Five Bad Habits:
    Biting my nails
    Twiddling my thumbs
    Tapping my fingers
    Biting my lip
    Spending too much time on the internet

    Five Things You Like To Do:
    scrapbook/do crafty things
    hang with the Husband
    hang with Anna Marie

    Five Things You Would Never Wear Again:
    tunic tops (for the leggings, natch)
    horizontal stripes
    gauchos (but I never wore those in the first place)

    Five Favorite Toys:
    my camera
    my iPod
    the laptop
    the Internet

    Your turn now!

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Official Thursday Weigh-In

    Man, I did so much right this week.

    And then, my Aunt Flo came a callin'.

    (Not to be confused with Jason's Aunt Grace, who lives in South Carolina but called today to say that she and his uncle Mac were dropping by. To our house. In Mississippi. And my house was a wreck. Good thing no one looked in the closets or under the beds.)

    Back to my point.

    Some weeks, you can do everything right, and then something like that happens (Aunt Flo, or Aunt Grace, or both, coming over) and it's blown to smithereens.

    I gained two pounds this week! I was so hoping to get to an even 80 lbs. by the time we went to my sister-in-law's wedding (which, did I mention, she called and asked if I could take the pictures for? Next week? Me, who has never taken wedding pictures?) But, I'm here at 163, meaning only 74 pounds lost.

    And next week, no Official Thursday Weigh In, because we'll be on the road. (Because did I mention, she also asked Jason to usher, and he had to go buy a black suit because he doesn't wear suits to church anymore? And NO, I'm probably not getting a new dress, because he got a new suit and we have buy the gas to drive halfway across the country?)

    But anyway.

    It's going to drive me crazy, this not knowing where I stand for two weeks, much like it does at Thanksgiving. I haven't missed a weigh-in (except for holidays) since I started over a year and a half ago.

    Good news is, maybe I'll have a bigger loss in two weeks.

    Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    The eyes have it

    A cataract, that is.

    But not in the traditional sense. No, Anna Marie never does anything like other folks!

    Her lens is clear, unlike most cataracts where the lens becomes cloudy. She has a bubble on her left lens, which is distorting her vision. Apparently any defect in the lens is called a cataract. And she was apparently born with it.

    She can't see very much at all in her left eye without using the right one too - which causes the right eye to overcompensate.

    So, she will have "therapy" of sorts, until her eyes finish developing (about three more years or so). She has to get a stronger lens in the left side, and wear a patch on the right side to cause the left eye to learn to focus. The patch only has to stay on for 2-3 hours a day, and she can put it on after school once that starts.

    All things considered, it's not that bad. There won't be any surgery, because the lens is clear. She only has to wear the patch for two or three hours, and during one of those hours she needs to do "close work" like reading, drawing, or playing on the computer.

    I want to thank all of your for your prayer the last few days. Y'all are great. No, really, you're too modest. I love y'all!

    And for the patch - my friend Marcia said she could now be known as Captain Anna Marie Sparrow.

    I think she'd like that very much.

    A little comic relief

    From my mates Jermaine and Bret.

    I downloaded the full first episode of the Flight of the Conchords new HBO show from iTunes yesterday (it's a podcast.) I'm so sad that I don't have HBO, but if they'll offer the episodes on iTunes, I'd definitely spring a buck ninety-nine to see these guys.

    And maybe I could pay for it by being a part-time model.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    And the winner is . . .


    Anna Marie pulled her name out of her very own handmade Cat in the Hat hat.

    Ok, Sheila - email me your address, and I'll get your Really Cool Prize from the First Annual Melz World Really Cool Prize Giveaway on its way north!

    (You can find my email link in my profile!)

    I'm sure there must be a Beatles song to go along with winning something, and I'm sure if there is, she knows it!

    Thanks to everyone who left a comment. I'll have to do this again!

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Anna Marie's eyes - an update

    Jason took her to the optometrist today, and you'll never believe what he was told.

    The doctor sees a slight "shadow" which she thinks might be a cataract!

    Anna Marie has an appointment with a specialist on Wednesday. I was going to just let Jason take her, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'm going. We have a meeting with the publisher on Wednesday afternoons, but I talked to my general manager and she seemed to think it would be OK.

    (It's not that I don't trust Jason or his mad doctor-appointment skillz, mind you; it's me. Totally me. Totally me and my hand-wringingness and the thought of having to concentrate during a staff meeting at the exact moment my daughter is seeing a pediatric opthamologist. Is all.)

    Dr. Sallye (her first name, not her last) thinks that if it is a cataract in her left eye, and if it's removed, she may have perfect vision out of that side.

    Her other eye will be another matter. I suppose the new doc will look at both on Wednesday.

    So, please continue to pray for all of us. Anna Marie is (understandably) nervous at the thought of going to a new doctor. As much as I've tried to keep cool these past few days about her eyes, I'm sure she knows something is going on now. And she'll probably have to have her eyes dilated, which she really hates (can't blame her!)

    I'll keep everyone posted.

    (Funny story - I had a friend in high school, and we were on the phone one night talking about an assignment, and I told him I'd keep him posted about something. He burst into fits of laughter, saying he had visions of Melissa-shaped Post-it notes everywhere.)

    (I failed to see the humor.)

    My new favorite picture

    Isn't my sister amazing?

    Saturday, June 09, 2007

    The sweetest sound at 8:00 a.m.

    No, it's not the sound of Anna Marie's voice, or Jason's. Or even those aforementioned birds outside my window.

    This morning, it was the doorbell.

    It signaled the arrival of my landlady's handyman brother, and he was going to fix our water!

    And yes, we were all still in bed. I'd been awakened at quarter-of-six with an aching mouth and took some ibuprofen, but it took me a good while to get back to sleep.

    He worked for about an hour and a half, and said he had to go get another part. He came back about another hour after that, and was finished by noon.

    Praise be!

    And, you aren't going to believe this part. That water pipe, the one that some plumbers were supposed to have fixed last year but charged an arm and two legs and just patched - we don't even need it.

    That's right.

    It runs off the house to the ruins of an outbuilding in the backyard. It probably had a roof at one time, but now it's just a concrete pad with broken-down concrete-block walls and a gate. We keep the lawnmower back there. Which doesn't require water at all!

    So, Mr. Handyman Brother just shut the line off altogether. He said there's also a gas line run out there, and that he'd be back in a month or so to shut that off too before it started giving us trouble.

    He's great.

    We have water.

    I'm so happy!

    (And an update on the mom and aunt - the aunt is still really, really shaken up, because apparently the wreck exacerbated some fibromyalgia she already has. Plus she's contracted poison ivy from living in the woods. And now my mom has it too! So I think, for the weekend at least, they're sharing one tube of steroid cream. It's all very touching.)

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    If it's not one, thing, it's your mother.

    Well, not really.

    Ok, maybe partially.

    What a week this has been!

    Monday: In with the Board of Supervisors for 2.5 (million) hours, then working late until 10:15 p.m. with the County school board. Oh, and then going to Walmart, making me close to 11:00 getting home.

    Tuesday: Drag myself out o' bed. Get a phone call from my mom at 11:00 a.m., asking me to call the police, she'd been in a wreck. (Don't ask me why she called me instead of 911.) Spend most of my afternoon at the emergency room with her and the aunt, who'd been rear-ended by the owner of one of our local clothing stores. (They got to the ER at 11:30, but didn't get seen until about 4:00.) When they were discharged at 5:00 p.m., I was already in a meeting with the city's Board of Aldermen. Jason had to go pick them up.

    Later Tuesday: I discover that the cold water in the tub isn't turned all the way off, so I try to turn it off. And the knob turns, and turns, and turns, but the water never goes off! Dash off a note to Jason, who was already in bed and had to work at the Auction the next day. He then dashes a note off to me at 3:00 a.m. the next morning, ON THE COMPUTER, prints it out, and places it in the medicine cabinet where I'll be sure to see it.

    Wednesday: Anna Marie's (disasterous) eye appointment and (pretty good) dentist appointment. Later that night, we went to the motel where my aunt is staying while the company from whom she purchased her manufactured home was putting her up, because immediately upon her residing there two leaks occurred and now there was mold growing in the walls. Anna Marie swam (sort of).

    Thursday: Teeth! Out! Painful! Cause me to miss another meeting of the Board of Supervisors! Bite the dentist! (In my defense: I had no idea my jaw was moving, or that his fingers were in my mouth.) Jason fixes the faucet (Yay!) Lose three pounds at my weigh-in (Yay!) Pull into the driveway after working until nearly 9:00 p.m. at a city school board meeting, to find puddles of water and a shovel in the back yard (Huh?)

    Last winter, we noticed the sound of water running, even though no faucets were on. Then, we saw the back yard full of water. Before we figured out what was going on, we'd run up a nearly $200 water bill! The landlady gets someone out to fix the leak, but they apparently charge her a couple of arms and a leg.

    Fast forward to yesterday: same spot, smaller leak. Jason digs up the area this morning, to discover that the plumbers didn't replace the old pipe - just put a compression clamp on it to stop the leak! And now there was another leak! So, he went to the hardware store and bought a suitable clamp. (The landlady fell earlier this week and broke her leg in three places, and is scheduled for surgery next week, so we were trying to take care of it without bothering her.) Problem solved, right?

    WRONG! He clamps off the leak, to find at least two more next to it! So, we called her to see if her handyman brother knew anything about replacing pipe. She's going to get back to me. And, she's going to look at the last invoice to see what exactly the plumbers said they did. (Oh, and she's also apparently on some GOOD DRUGS because she sounded great!)

    So now, the water is off at the house. If we can't get it fixed shortly, we'll either have to camp out at the Raney compound on Senatobia Drive (that being my mom and aunt's place) or go scrounge up the cash for a motel room. Sheesh.

    Oh, and also Friday: My blog's one-year birthday! Yay! And like so many others, I am offering the First Annual Melz World Really Cool Prize Giveaway for those who leave a comment! Just my little way of saying "Thanks, y'all" to everyone who supports Melz World. And to garner more comments.

    (See, you had to read through all my other crap to get to the good stuff! I'm sneaky like that.)

    So, leave a comment. I'll draw on, hmm, let's see - how does Tuesday evening sound? Ok. Tuesday it is!

    Oh, and once again - Thanks, y'all!

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Official Thursday Weigh-In

    Not hiding anymore!

    I lost the three pounds I gained last week!

    I'm now back down to 161! Just a couple more pounds till I break the 160's!


    (I'm a little excited, can you tell?)

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    The longest day

    This is the longest short day I think I've had here at The Democrat.

    I didn't even come in until 10:30, and went to lunch at 11:45, so you'd think today would've practically flown by.

    And you'd be wrong.

    It's only quarter past four. Five is never going to come!

    Anna Marie had two doctors appointments this morning - the optometrist at 9, for a six-month checkup witht her glasses, and the dentist at 10.

    The dentist went well - no cavities. The optometrist? Not so much.

    First, we were there at 9:00 a.m. Almost no one else was. The receptionist was there by herself, and she had to run between another patient in the next room, and the telephone, and Anna Marie.

    Then, when the doctor finally did come in, she was not satisfied with the exam results she was getting and wanted to run more tests. Except, it was getting to be like 9:45 and we had a dental appointment at 10.

    So she has to go back Monday.

    Apparently, Anna Marie gave better results to the receptionist (you know, the test where you cover one eye and try to look at the letters on the chart) and she suspsects the girl didn't adequately cover the eye in question. That Anna Marie was "peeping" and using both eyes, and skewing the results.

    I need y'all to pray. I'm seriously getting concerned about her eyesight, and Jason will be taking her on Monday. (He had to work today, but he forgot that when he made her dentist appointment, so I made the eye appointment for the same day so we'd just miss the babysitter/work the same morning).

    So, while they're down the road at the eye doctor, I'll be sitting here with bated breath, trying to work.

    That may be the second-longest day here at the paper.

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Reason #1,395,287 that I love living in Senatobia

    Relay for Life.

    Actually, it isn't so much the relay that I enjoy - it's the sense of community it promotes.

    And in that sense, it's a lot of other things around here that I think are pretty neat.

    There's Relay, and MayFair, and the Pickin in the Park concerts, and National Day of Prayer - they all center around Gabbert Park, which happens to be one of my most favorite places in town. And they all help us gather together for a common cause.

    Anna Marie and I went to the Relay on Friday night for a couple of hours. When she realized that some folks were spending the night there, she wanted to do that too! I guess I'll have to find a team next year. Or something.


    I really, really need to remember to take someone with me to these events I'm covering, because Friday night reminded me how hard it is to do my newspaper job and my mom job at the same time. Even though we're in Senatobia, I still didn't feel safe just letting her run around without my (at least partial) supervision.

    I'm just so darn proud of our community, and how they come together to support this. It's the third year, and last year over $30,000 was raised. I haven't gotten this year's totals yet, but I've heard they got even more.

    That may not sound like a lot to some people, but for a town of about 7,000, I'd say that was pretty good.

    They got all 10 of the dollars I brought, too - for three separate blow-up games,

    face painting,

    a ride on a horse named Reba

    (Who apparently didn't eat before she came)

    A couple of raffle tickets and two pickles.

    It was nearly 9:00 p.m. when I had to tear Anna Marie away from the park. She was watching a dunk tank where some of the (dozen or so) candidates for this year's sheriff's race were taking turns getting soaked. She laughed like it was the funniest thing she's ever seen.

    (I didn't tell her that as a reward for good performance on a practice standardized test, the principal of her future elementary school did the same thing a few weeks ago.)

    I love summer. I love Gabbert Park.

    And I love our little community.